For last few years I went on mountain trek at least once a year.
This time we decided to merge pilgrimage with a safari.We visited Sri Dwarakadheesh, Sri Somanatheshwara and Gir forest. In between Diu too.
Location of Gir :
Gir pride is about 380 km from Ahamadabad air port in state of Gujarat in India. It is an over night journey. On line booking is possible.
We stayed at Gir in a small resort, called Gir Pride. (www.girprideresort.com/) Nice property. Homely food, Natural rustic ambiance. It is away from the city. It is not with a manicured garden with plush interiors or so. It is kept close to natural nature.
Gir ride :
View of the location
View of the Swiss tent
The place has lot of Kesar mango trees
Do not forget to enjoy the ride of “Chakkada” when you are in Gir. If not, your Gir visit is incomplete. The driver is both driver and guide. He takes you to the local places of your interest. Caves, temple, village spots or even lion spots.
He offered to take us to a location where locals had spotted three lions, of course at a cost. Pay only if lion is sighted, he said. This was a kind of bonus in addition to regular safari which we had booked next day morning. He took us to the spot.
A mother and a cub resting unmindful of us. True to the saying of ” Simha Gaambhirya” lions did not care for us. They were just twenty mtr away.
Next day we went on our regular jeep safari. Very nice early morning ride on an open jeep.
Many visitors had gathered.
Info on Safari and Best time to visit:
Forest department provides a permit online. Visit http://girlion.in/
for more info. Permit alone is not enough. You need a Safari jeep, provided by a service provider. You need to go by only these Jeeps. Private vehicles are not allowed. There are many organizers available on net if you want to book a safari in advance, including the permit. It is better to book in advance through a service provider. Gir jungle trail is closed from 15th June to 15th October every year. The other trail “Devalia” is open through out the year, closed on every Wednesday.
Gir safari :
On our Gir Jungle Trail Safari we could spot peacocks, spotted deer, Sambar, Owlet, Paradise flycatcher, Eurasian thick nee, languors.
There were no lions initially. We began to feel desperate, disappointed. How ever we finally “managed” to find a herd of lions and cubs to our surprise.
Sighting the lioness and cubs from few meters in a free forest is a amazing experience, unlike in caged zoo or at a circus.
Another set of cubs
A king to be
Beautiful Paradise Flycatcher male
Pea cock in a dancing posture
Same Peacock showing its intrinsic designs
Eurasian Thick knee with its baby
A pair of Indian scops owl
One last thing I would like to mention here.
A big heartfelt thanks to the locals (Maldharis) and the Forest Department team who are responsible for conserving and sustaining the forest, ecology and bio diversity, population of Lions, Leopard and other fauna and Flora.
The locals seem to co – live with lions. With out their support lions would been extinct for long.
The protected forest does not have any boundary or fencing. The lions are free to roam around anywhere, though they protect their territory and try to live within. The forest is also home for the locals. Somehow they learnt to live together.
Hats off to those locals again.